Volunteering or not – what’s the point?

ImageIn a few hours I will have the pleasure to meet about 30 persons and talk about Corporate Responsibility and volunteering. But not the standard «how do you do it», no, that is said a million of times. I will focus on what you generate, what you manage to create by running a volunteer program in your organization. About «the soul», about the tangible part of volunteering to make words such as «vision», «mission» and «values» understood – more tangible. 

These are the initial questions I will place (and try to answer). How would you answer them? In a few hours I let you know what the response was

Question that questions the action of volunteering within Corporate Responsibility

  1. What is the value of a volunteer program?
  2. Isn’t it only «a cost»?
  3. How do you do this whole thing?
Anuncio publicitario

5 tips to avoid dying out of nervousness in a radio interview


And they call you up. And it sounds so easy. «We will just ask you a few questions, that’s it». And you sit there waiting for the call (wondering if your mobile phone will die, if the line will be bad and if that specific moment will be the one when your operator decides to change from 3G to 4G – leaving you without line). And «it» comes. Anonymous number. You have prepared, or not. But still, you hear the voice, the music, it is you next and it happens – you go blank. Black-out. Blank-out or whatever you want to call it, but it happens. You know nothing and the question comes, faaaar faaar away, you hear your name, you hear the subject, you hear the question and you hear your silence. And then the «hello, are you there»?

Hopefully, you wake up from this nightmare (it was just a dream, the D-day is today) and can enjoy the interview instead – as you will prepare for it, right?

Here are a few tips on how you can kill that nervousness (you never kill it totally, it wouldn’t be human not to feel anything), to be able to enjoy the ride.

5 tips to prepare for your radio interview

  1. Think like this: «I have been assigned to becomes somebodies 5-minute-teacher in a subject that I know more about than this person»: You are lucky! You will be talking to this person that gets up 5 am, loving his work, and knowing a h-l lot about everything and now – you will teach him some new stuff! What do you want him to remember? Have you checked his profile? Listened to his talks? What do you think he will be interested in? 
  2. Think like this: «Not everybody have the guts to sit here in this situation, people may even admire somebody for doing this, and nobody expect you to be a robot, you are human»: You don’t know the questions at forehand, you just have to live with it and if you don’t know the answer, don’t «make something up». Be human, how would you answer if you sat with this same guy over a cup of coffee? Those that listen are also human. Their first intention is probably not to laugher at you – they listen to that radio channel because they like «what is played there», so chances are that they will have a friendly approach to what you say…
  3. Think like this: «I don’t have to say everything I had planned for, I’m not a total failure if I miss out on some points, people don’t remember everything anyway, they remember the feeling»: Take it easy. Calm and relax. I tend to «rush away», like if somebody was hunting me. Not so good because it does not leave space to think or follow up questions. Pauses are not bad, they create space (even if stress tends to kill them).
  4. Think like this: «They are like me». If you doubt, undress them, in your mind of course. And if you think really really hard, you will see – they are like you. Bones and stuff.
  5. Think like this: «If I can’t see them, they can’t see me». I know, it’s over the phone, you can’t see each other, but if you take off your glasses while you talk, you feel even more hidden (it is the same trick that kids use when they cover their face with their hands). Sometimes, this gives me the feeling that I am more «protected». Cocooned, in some way.

Nerves can be good and they can be bad, but the point is that we should enjoy these moments instead of suffer through them,  and killing a bit of the edge of those nerves, will leave space for enjoyment. 

On top of this, standard tips such as, speak-up, prepare, be friendly, let people talk etc etc

Ah, by the way an example without having an opinion on it: yesterday-me in Spanish radio talking about tea.

Share your experience!


Betahaus in Barcelona – the beginning of something big?

A few weeks back I paid a visit to Betahaus in Barcelona. Curiosity created a need to find out more about this «place» or philosophy? @ivanruiz read about the initiative and contacted one of the drivers to see if we could «come by». Come by is exactly what you should do if you are in Barcelona. To see what a few hands can set up, despite rules, legislation, money issue and anything in-between that can cause a total stop to a project.

A dream.

Why do I still think about it, several weeks after? Why do I recommend people to go there? Questions I have asked me and this is my answer. It is a place packed with soul and entrepreneurship. With future. With «space» for those that look for something else than just the big investment or the big success (of course they want it, just that the road there may be different). There are hundreds of projects, ideas and places in Barcelona for start-ups to ground, for entrepreneurs to explore, but one that has this human-share-knowledge-grow-naturally type of «soul» built-in, naturally, in these industrial walls? Not sure I have experiences this before (would love to do though) I would love to pay a visit to other places that feel the soul is there as well. We need more places with soul to grow our businesses along with our hearts!

How does that «soul» feel? It feels on the inside. The person that received us, the talk we have about initiatives, the people sitting there on chairs that may not be in total color-sync with each other, in the industrial-building halls (several floors of space, bar, launch areas, meeting areas…). Right there. The spirit, the soul and I concluded. Betahaus is a philosophy that want people to grow with their projects, investors to meet the creators, creators to get investment, but without the «stiff» structure normally surrounding these «entrepreneurship» environments. «It happens anyway», he tells us, our host «we do the same thing as any incubator, just that it happens by itself – by its own energy».

If you are in Barcelona, yes, pay a visit to Sagrada Familia, but don`t forget to visit the Betahaus bar to get some energy, some inspiration and while the world outside is collapsed with crisis, this many-thousands-square-meters-building breaths hope and future. Just generated in a more natural way – in-between people.

Oh, what Betahaus is? I encourage you to find out yourself, but if it would be a one-liner I would say «a working-environment where art, thinking, creativity meet business, success and happiness with the purpose to let people grow along with their start-ups and projects. The rest you need to find out yourself.  


How to work with perceived value versus price

There are different ways to work with branding, positioning and visualization of your product. The important part here is to make sure you strategically work with this product in such way, that you «associate» your brand with values you want your product to be associated with. By associating your products with other products (related life style) and have other persons that represent your product you indirectly give a message stating what type of product yours is.

There are different ways to work with these

To work with positioning is to work with what your «brand stands for». You must associate you with activities that represent what your brand stands for. You must make sure that people interact with your brand and get the experience you want them to associate with.

HOW TO WORK WITH ambassadors and influencers

It is important to associate your product/service with influencers, advocates that «brand» your product without you have to «pay» for it. You give the product, if they like it the will use it, show it in an environment where it is visible.

How to work with Co-Branding

The co-branding strategy has to be based on the win-win situation and the added value for all the brands included. You must find out what it is your «strength» that you can offer which would add value to the other brands.

To work with «Limited edition» is a good way to add value to a Co-branding brand.

The first step is to identify brands that «have the same position as you, on another market and that does not compete with you». Finding the ideal positioning.

Once you find the correct partner for the cobranding you must work with how to position that brand within your activity (our your activity within their brand). This generates that you do something different, that you get press/blogs where your audience is, to come just because the «limited edition» «co-branding» is there present of the world they are interested in. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the brands are associated.

You must study what values the activity you associate with has.

thinks to keep in mind when you work with prices

  • Make sure you state how many there are in stock if you offer a product for free related to a product
  • Number 5 and 9 are easier number to relate to «good price». So prices that end in these number tends to be more attractive


  • The quality has to be higher
  • The order in which the offer comes
  • When in time it happens

cross selling

  • Offer other related products

how to calculate a price

  • You must take into consideration the minimum margin you have
  • You must take into consideration the competitors prices for the similar product
  • You must take into consideration the perceived value (the items bought individually)

And based on this, you set your price (that is lower than the perceived value)

What is the «gray market»

A parallel market. You sell your product to «traders» that buy and sell (they play with smaller margins). The problem is that you sell the same product but to different prices. You compete with your own brand (because you sell the same product to different prices).

Drawback: you lose control of the brand, of the image, control of the price
Benefits: you sell a great amount

10 min non-profits should spend on Title optimization for visibility in search

bolded search result example

Example of "bolded" text in search result

Have you noticed when you do your Google searches that some of the words in the result are bold? Isn’t this text more visible to you than any other on the page? Probably, people would click there in first place I guess.

The search engine displays results based on the (key)words you enter in the search box.

Search in google

Once the result is displayed, if it contains web pages, the TITLE of a page is what you see as blue text in the search result and the bolded words are those that “matches” the (key)words you used in your search. Google consider the title of a page to be the single most important description of a page and is therefore the most important place where to use keywords to gain a higher ranking position (quote: SEOMOZ). This means that your “keywords” need to be there, unless you have such a strong brand that your audience would search for your name to find you (because then your keyword should be your brand name). Most of us don’t and we must therefore try to understand how our audience would find us if they were searching for something that we could provide and satisfy their need. What is it that they are looking for that we would be able to help them with? Donation?
Nonprofit work? Support?

Your title is shown in search results

Lets see what you can do to support a better display in the search results of your webpage or blog. There are many other parameters that take you web page to a first-page ranking, but this is one of the simplest one you can definitely implement in less than 10 minutes.

1. Identify your “keywords” and select the most important for you. For what search would you like your donors, support, volunteers to find your site as the top result?

2. Revise the titles of all your webpages, do they include your keywords? Are the titles of the pages different one from the other or have you called them all the same? Adapt the titles of your pages to what the pages contain and the keywords you believe is entered by the users in their search that would take them here. E.g. if your page is about donation to children education and you believe that people may search for those words, compose a title base on this.

3. Compose a title for your webpages that is descriptive (remember Google wants the users to be satisfied with their search so the page must contain what you state it will show in order to avoid high bounce rates).Therefore your pages’ titles are slightly different as the content of the pages varies. Try to think what your audience would write in the search and build that question or sentence into your Title. Piling up keywords will give no good result, so focus on making a proper sentence.

4. Update the TITLE data of your webpage(s).

Meta data Title

Update your title information in the Header code

 A recommendation is to place your most important keyword close to the start of the title as it would potentially ranks better and drives higher click-through, your brand may then probably be part of the ending (unless you want to be found by brand).

Note that there is a limitation; keep the title to less than 70 characters in order for Google to display it fully, if longer Google will add three dots.

Once this work is done, your title will be displayed in 3 places:
a) in the browser as a title of the tab
b ) in the search result
c) as title on external websites (e.g. social media sites)

What titles have you seen when searching that you think are descriptive and optimized?

Connect with me on Google+

3 reasons why non-profits should consider “Rel=Author” and Google+

As a marketing and communication professional, passionate about my volunteer work for a non-profit organization and a true beginner in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, I’m continuously searching for functionality that can support in visualizing the online content created by non-profit agencies and volunteers. I have been reflecting on quality of content and how Google’s latest changes emphasizes the importance of bringing content of greater quality to the search results to better serve its users. How many times haven’t you clicked to realize that the page displayed had nothing to do with your search? On top of that, the non-profit community is affected by discontentment generated by a few fundraising “fake” non-profit organizations that with their illegal methods have created suspiciousness for our kind of activity resulting in potential donors being more careful than ever when trusting a non-profit organization online. Considering these reflections, in what way could I support in providing these searchers, supporters and readers a feeling of trust and authority for the online content created by my organization and have Google to help me in that labor? A first step would be to visualize, already in the search result, the identity of the writers of the blog posts – to make it easier for the readers if they want to do some research – and make clear what organization is behind the web pages, articles and blogs. To help Google understand what type of content is published would also help the search engine robots to better know how to categorize it in order to display it correctly. Wouldn’t that trigger a proper ranking in the SERP? I did some reading about Google+ profiles related to authority that I would like to share in case it’s useful for communicators of non-profit organizations. Google appreciate content that is “tagged” correctly as it gives the reader a better picture of what the result is about. The way of tagging your online content is called Snippets. Google would potentially reward this by improving the ranking of your content in the search result and display a) the name of the author b) other content of the same c) the snippet description d) display the amount of circles we are in (if it’s a Google+ piece of content) I would pay special attention to these Google+ related areas now, in time when the term AuthorRank is in the air; algorithm that will value the quality of your content and rank higher those that generate most engagement. Content where the authorship has not been taken into consideration will probably rank lower in the SERP. So it’s a perfect moment to start working on these snippets before Google turns on improved ranking algorithm. Non-profit organizations must keep an eye on upcoming changes and updates as they are impacting on the way your digital content is displayed in the search results and maybe future changes. I have specially focused on the snippets called Rel=Author andRel=publisher (author for content pages, publisher verifies your site) for this post, but there is more in the pipe. My conclusion is that leveraging on your or your organization’s Google+ profile along with these snippets to show Google who the author is of this content and who the owner is of the site would give more benefits. The benefits would be: a) Correctly tagged content which “certifies” for the reader who the source is b) Improve visibility in Google search results to increase click through c) Support the “viralization” of my message thanks to Google Social Search This would only be visible in the Google+ search and Google organic search if you link your Google+ profile to your blogs and web pages and activating these snippets Rel=Author and Rel=publisher. This is how: Rel=AuthorRel=publisher. It is said (I have not tested) that it requires as well that your Google+ profile exists in more than 1000 circles or have more than 1000 “likes” and verified in order to have this information display in the SERP. This solution of Google secures that it is only you that can add the code to the web page and associate this web page/article/post to your Google+ profile. It’s a way to make sure that “you are you”. Create trust by certifying who you are – tag your content People don’t have time to investigate the legal aspects of your organization. But they get to read about non-profit organizations that act in a non-ethic way, are illegal or don’t do what they promise to do with the gathered founds. It becomes more important than ever to secure that our readers trust us. I think that a good way is to tell them “that we are those we say we are” already in the search. If displayed, we would simplify the research, they would see what else we have written, know that the pages are ours and even see that other trust us by the number of Google+ circles we are in. By making use of this functionality prepared by Google to say that “you are you”, we can show our readers that we stand behind the words we write. Therefore, tag your content with: Rel=Author and your sites with Rel=publisher and hopefully Google takes this into consideration in the search results of your donors and supporters. Be more visible in the Google search results – create qualitative content There are tons of posts written about the new Search Plus Your World algorithm implemented by Google not long ago. Working within the non-profit community it is hard to ignore this increasing importance of the Google+ profile and it is probably the right moment to start (if not already implemented) the discussion about how to integrate this area of dialog to your strategies. This new search result content means that it’s more important than ever that our “posts” are shared via Google+ to qualify as result in the organic Google search as Google gives Google+ content a lot more play. It is as well important that the +1 is available on our websites and clicked on for our posts in the organic search so that they become sharable and commented items in Google+. This will impact their ranking in the SERP. The reason why these are important actions is the fact that the content could show up as a result in our ambassadors’, donors’ and followers’ search result. Imagine what that could mean for your visibility and click-through rates. Leveraging on the sharing possibilities of the Google+ profile to be part of the Google search results of our readers that now integrates the social part of your Google+ circles dialogs and applying the previously mentioned snippets are two actions worth testing as SEO techniques to increase your visibility in the SERP. Support the “viralization” of your message – share via Google+ Don’t you agree that the link with the image and the reference to the amount of circles as well as name drags your attention?It would probably generate more direct clicks, +1 leading to better ranking. If those that support you, believe in you, are in your Google+ circles, their search will be populated with links to results from people and profiles of organizations they have circled to go along with other standard organic search. You can turn the social-related functionality off, but we are probably moving towards a more social world, so I guess people will not turn it off. What if the result shows other organizations the have circled but not yours? Is that a lost of potential awareness creation and clicks? It takes the first part of the search results and we are more likely to see that first and click, wherefore the content plan for our Google+ voice must be reinforced and viewed from a search point of view, as well. I think it means that we must put more focus on what we share through our Google+ profiles. We must think what it is that our donors, followers and supporters are interested in and solve their need for information, because we may pop up in their search and they may +1 or share with their networks – being our ambassadors. Before they came to us if they thought the answer was with us, now we may “pop up” (or be absent) where they are in the moment they may need us. Creative content, content that engage and solving the information need is more important than ever. Google’s way of supporting us via snippets in certifying our content and the way the organic search results plays with the social content from Google+ just gives us an opportunity to re-think our communication plans, content plans and channel mix. I believe it forces us to become more focused in understanding who our followers are and secure that we are visible online. A perfect way to use online functionality for a good purpose. Have you been able to draw these or other benefits by potentiating your Google+ profile?

Patricia Polvora is a Marketing & Communication Professional on a multinational company with a passion for the non-profit World. She mixes her knowledge and experiences from these two worlds to suggest how non-profit organizations can benefit from new technology, methodology and online strategies. Contact her to share you experiences!

Connect with me on Google+

6 ways non-profit organizations could trigger dialog with the app Friendthem

FriendthemQuestion to you: of those you met at your last event or conference, how many did you remember the day after? Hard to remember names? How sure were you of who-is-who from your business cards? Unless you have a very good memory or note-strategy, this may be the point where you start to loose potential network opportunities and friends. “Facebook me” has started to become the way of saying – get-in-contact-with-me which presents a problem, as it starts to get hard to find the right profile of a person among similar names. As a non-profit organization it’s more important than ever to network – offline and online – and we spend a lot of time at events and conferences to interact with people, talk about our cause or share our successes opening up for future dialog.

The application Friendthem, founded by Richard Passer, may be one of your supporting tools in that labor. Friendthem is the app that helps in converting people near you into Facebook friendsFriendthem is the app that secures that you find the right “Juan Perez” among many similar Facebook profiles, helping you with the “Facebook me” issue.

But Friendthem could also be used to trigger and enhance your post-event dialog. Some ideas on how this app can be useful.

  1. Offer a fast-track for interaction with your experts
  2. Add value to your Facebook friend requests
  3. VIP your audience
  4. Facilitate your participants ‘networking’
  5. Encourage your listener to participate actively
  6. Teach your audience about your organization

Offer a fast-track for interaction with your experts: If you are the speaker at a conference, bring members of your team, introduce them and ask the audience to Friendthem so that they can chat their questions and comments to your colleagues via Facebook during the speech. As a listener, most of the questions pop-up during the presentation and you seldom get the opportunity to ask them right away. As a speaker you add value to the speech by offering a parallel track of direct dialog, a dialog the audience will have with your organization and where your expertise is visualized and experienced. It also opens up a door for continued dialog after the speech by sending e.g. the presentation and answers to all other questions and arranging follow up meetings.

Add value to your Facebook friend requests: Once you have “tagged” your in-the-break-discussion-contact via Friendthem, use the functionality offered of postponing the Facebook friend request to make sure that you provide relevant information as a follow-up to the discussion you had. Add links to the presentation you held, to the webpage you would like them to visit and to the survey or other info you want to convey. Don’t forget the personal touch (“thanks for the coffee!”) in your request.  I.e. use this functionality to add value to the dialog with your new contact triggering future conversation and making the friend request more relevant to what you talked about at the break.

VIP your audience: VIP your audience, make them feel special.If you are the organizer, ask your participants to connect via Friendthem with an assigned profile so that you can provide them with the links to the light version of the next speaker’s presentation, the “trigger” or bio 10 min before the speech. As a listener you like to be prepared and being “VIPed” the material would be perceived as an added value also giving the listener the opportunities to take notes directly on the slides. Once having this door open to those that have shown interest, you can follow up with material or dialog.

Facilitate your participants ‘networking’: If you are the event organizer make it easier for your participants to identify each other. Encourage them to download Friendthem for easier identification of who participates (make sure the nametags go along with the Facebook profile names). It would save them the hassle of finding out if the other person has “bump”, Bluetooth, scanner, paper&pen etc. You add value by giving everybody the same process to connect offering you the opportunity to introduce team members that could be key in the dialog with the participants for specific areas you want to trigger.

Encourage your listener to participate actively: Make your presentation more interactive and learn more about your listeners in order to continue the dialog at later stage based on their interests. Ask your participants to Friendthem your profile if they want to participate in the polls that you refer to in your presentation or feedback on your content, their input would come via the Facebook chat. Analyze the responses  and as you already have them as friends, continue the dialog based on their feedback.

Teach your audience about your organization: Encourage participants to play with your brand. Playing is a way to learn.Set up a contest, game, competition at an event you arrange or attend asking the participants to download Friendthem and “search for” a specific person (you could even create a profile just for this occasion). This profile can deliver tricky questions, ask for check-in at Facebook places which would “teach” the participants about your organization. You can trigger participation with prices, discounts, support a donation or other creative ideas you may come up with.

Can this be done directly in Facebook? Yes of course, but Friendthem would work as a bridge to identify who really wants to connect with you, to give them a feeling of being part of a group with common interests. You have better control of who wants to be part of your initiatives and don’t have to bother all the others with information they haven’t asked for- You learn about your new friends or co-participants. On top of that it gives us, as listener, the possibility to choose how active or passive we want to be.

In a follow up article I will ask Friendthem developers their thoughts around how this app can help non-profit in their communication – what would you like to ask them?

Patricia Polvora is a Marketing & Communication Professional on a multinational company with a passion for the non-profit World. She mixes her knowledge and experiences from these two worlds to suggest how non-profit organizations can benefit from new technology, methodology and online strategies. Contact her to share you experiences!

Connect with me on Google+

Find out about me. Find out who I am. Find out how I can help you.

Patricia Polvora as speeker at conferencesI would love to meet you. I would love to sit there infront of you, maybe with a tea in my hand (do you drink coffee?) and chat about visions and ideas. Chat about how social media can make your company become part of the ongoing discussion of your brand? What, that there is no discussion about your brand? When did you check last time? when did you go through Twitter conversations, Facebook pages, 168 0000 000 blogs…I´m not sure that you are not there. Maybe you are right, but maybe we should give it a shot. Give it a try. Maybe you should try to give me the chance to try and maybe we, together, identify where you should be, talking, to your customers. Because you do know that 1 of 4 buyers read blogs to take a decision? and you do know that 60% of the C-level are active on internet? and that 30% of the phones are smartphones and…yes, I´m sure you know, so lets explore how this new world can help you and how you can help others!